Inquiry initiated into World Boxing Body, could lead to withdrawal from Olympics

The Executive Board (EB) of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) today decided to initiate an inquiry into the International Boxing Association (AIBA). This is the initiation of a procedure which can lead to the withdrawal of recognition for AIBA.

The decision came after AIBA had submitted a Progress Report to the IOC, as required by the EB decision of 19 July 2018, detailing its current situation regarding governance, financial management and sporting integrity. Today, the EB acknowledged AIBA’s progress and its commitments highlighted in its Progress Report, but several points of significant concern remain, in particular in the areas of governance, ethics and financial management. This requires further investigation and the opportunity for AIBA to respond to any findings.

Areas of concern include but are not limited to the following:

Finance

  • In a comprehensive report in 2018, auditors EY stated: “Uncertainty still persists about the ability of the organisations to continue as a going concern.”
  • The 2018 EY audit report also stated: “We have not been able to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence to provide a basis of an audit opinion.”
  • Audit reports for the financial statements of 2017 and 2018 are omitted from AIBA’s website.
  • The IOC understands AIBA is unable to maintain or open a bank account in Switzerland, where its headquarters are based.

Governance and Ethics

  • Gafur Rakhimov’s designation as a key member and associate of a transnational organised criminal network by the US Treasury Department creates uncertainty about his role as President of AIBA.

The IOC EB acknowledged progress in the following areas:

Refereeing and Judging

  • The PwC report on refereeing and judging at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 found that none of the key observations caused concern to the boxing competitions, and that the tournament’s integrity and credibility had not been affected.Anti-Doping
  • The AIBA anti-doping programme is fully WADA compliant.

After discussion, the IOC EB decided to:

  1. initiate an inquiry regarding AIBA and, to that effect, delegate its authority – including to organise a hearing of AIBA – to an ad-hoc Inquiry Committee with the remit to:
    1. analyse the AIBA Progress Report and the measures presented in it to address the IOC’s major concerns regarding governance, ethics, financial management and refereeing and judging;
    2. investigate and assess the areas of major concerns within AIBA, including governance, ethical, financial management and refereeing and judging;
    3. form a recommendation for the IOC Executive Board on potential measures and sanctions in accordance with the Olympic Charter;
  2. maintain the previous decisions by the IOC Executive Board to:
    1. “freeze all contacts with AIBA, except the ones on the working level which are necessary to implement the respective IOC decisions”;
    2. suspend any financial payments to AIBA, including directly boxing-related payments scheduled by Olympic Solidarity, until:
      1. “the IOC Executive Board has reviewed and confirmed being satisfied with further proof of AIBA’s ability to continue as a going concern (along with the supporting documents which form part of the financial statements audits: cash flow projections);
      2. AIBA has engaged in a full and independent audit after implementation of the new control mechanisms (organisational policies and process) in order to demonstrate the result of the implementation”;
         
  3. adopt with immediate effect the following additional measures:
    1. freeze the planning for the Olympic boxing tournament at Tokyo 2020, including official contact between AIBA and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, ticket sales, approval and implementation of a qualification system, test event planning and finalisation of the competition schedule;
    2. prohibit the use by AIBA of the Olympic properties, including the Olympic rings and Tokyo 2020 logo for any communications/advertising and/or promotional materials;
    3. lift the freezing of Olympic Solidarity funding for athletes, on the condition that no funding can be applied for or paid through a national boxing federation.

The IOC Executive Board makes all efforts to protect the athletes and ensure that a boxing tournament can take place at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 regardless of these measures.

The EB appointed IOC Member Mr Nenad Lalovic as Chair of the ad-hoc Inquiry Committee. He will be joined by IOC Member Mr Richard L. Carrión and IOC Member and athlete representative Ms Emma Terho.